Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: The Manhattan Transfer, “Birdland”

Jim chose "Bird/Cat/Dog/Fish/Pet" as today’s prompt, and, well, you know me…

Birdland is a nightclub in Manhattan, named for saxophonist Charlie Parker, called "Yardbird" or simply "Bird." The club inspired Joe Zawinul, keyboardist of the fusion band Weather Report, to write "Birdland," which appeared on the band’s 1977 album Heavy Weather. (It’s a great album; I recommend it highly.) Jazz lyricist Jon Hendricks added the words, and The Manhattan Transfer sang it for their 1979 album Extensions. The song won two Grammy Awards in 1980, one going to Janis Siegel for "Best Vocal Arrangement For Two or More Voices," the other to the whole group for "Best Jazz/Fusion Performance."

The lyrics are courtesy of AZLyrics:

5,000 light years from Birdland
But I’m still preachin’ the rhythm
Long-gone, uptight years from Birdland
An’ I’m still teachin’ it with ’em

Years from the land of the Bird
An’ I am still feelin’ the spirit
5,000 light years from Birdland
But I know people can hear it

Bird named it, Bird made it, Bird heard it, then played it
Well-stated! Birdland
It happened down in Birdland

Oh!

In the middle of that hub
I remember one jazz club
Where we went to pat feet
Down on fifty-secon’ street

Everybody heard that word
That they named it after Bird

Where the rhythm swooped and swirled
The jazz corner of the world

An’ the cats they gigged in there
Were beyond compare

Birdland – I’m singin’ Birdland
Birdland – Ol’ swingin’ Birdland

Hey, man, the music really turns you on!
Y’ turn me on,
Really, y’ turn me aroun’
‘N turn me on

Down them stairs, lose them cares – where?
Down in Birdland
Total swing, bop was king – there
Down in Birdland
Bird would cook, Max would look – where?
Down in Birdland
Miles came through, ‘Trane came too – there
Down in Birdland
Basie blew, Blakey too – where?
Down in Birdland
Cannonball played that hall – there
Down in Birdland
Yeah…

There may never be nothin’ such as that
No mo’, no mo’
Down in Birdland, that’s where it was at
I know, I know
Back in them days bop was ridin’ high
Hello! ‘n goodbye!

How well those cats remember
Their first Birdland gig
To play in Birdland is an honor we still dig
Yeah…that club was like…
In another world, sure enough…
Yeah, baby
All o’ the cats had the cookin’ on
People just sat an’ they was steady lookin’ on
Then Bird…he came ‘n spread the word…
Birdland

Yes, indeed, he did
Yes, indeed, he did
Yes, indeed, he did
Yes, he did, Parker played at Birdland
Yes, he really did
Yes, indeed, he really did
Yes, he really did
Told the truth down in Birdland
Yes, indeed he did, Yardbird Parker played in
Birdland

Yes, indeed, he really did
Charlie Parker played in Birdland

Bird named it, Bird made it, Bird heard it
Then played it
Well-stated! Birdland
It happened down in Birdland

Everybody dug that beat
Everybody stomped their feet
Everybody digs be-bop
An’ they’ll never stop

Down them stairs, lose them cares, yeah
Down in Birdland
Total swing! bop was king, yeah
Down in Birdland

Bird would cook, Max would look, yeah
Down in Birdland
Miles came through, ‘Trane came too, yeah
Down in Birdland
Basie blew, Blakey too, yeah
Down in Birdland

Cannonball played that hall, yeah
Down in Birdland

Down them stairs, lose them cares, yeah
Down in Birdland
Total swing! bop was king, yeah
Down in Birdland

Bird would cook, Max would look, yeah
Down in Birdland
Miles came through, ‘Trane came too, yeah
Down in Birdland

Basie blew, Blakey too, yeah
Down in Birdland
Cannonball played that hall, yeah
Down in Birdland

Down them stairs, lose y’ cares, yeah
Down in Birdland
Total swing! bop was king, yeah
Down in Birdland

Bird would cook, Max would look, yeah
Down in Birdland

Come in pairs down them stairs, lose y’ cares
Them that dares gits it!

Pay the gate, don’t be late
It’s a date! – whattay’ know
If y’ dig, then you’ll dig, it’s a groove
Quite a groove, ’cause y’ t’ move
Come in twos, pay your dues

What can you lose?
Just your blues!
So lose them!

The band swingin’ one and all and what a ball!
Yeah!

Music is good, music is better than good
Pretty good
Very nice
Really very good – things are bein’ like they should
Very good, very good, very good

All y’ gotta do is lend an ear
An’ listen to it
Then y’ dig a little sooner than soon
You’ll be diggin’ everything diggin’ all the music

What a ball!

How y’ gonna figure out
A way t’ bring it all about amid a
Lot o’ other music on the set’n on
The scene know what I mean?
How y’ gonna separate the music from the scene
‘Gonna have t’ keep the memory clean
Y’ gonna hear a lotta’ sound… a lotta soun’

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for November 29, 2020.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Jack Jones, “Wives And Lovers”

Jim’s prompt for today is "Fiancé/Husband/Lover/Wife," and I’m jumping on a song that uses two of them. Something tells me this won’t be unique, but this is such a great song, I don’t care.

"Wives And Lovers" was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David in 1963. They were asked to write the song as a promotional song for the 1963 film Wives and Lovers. The song didn’t appear in the film, but became a hit, anyway. By far the best-known version is the one by Jack Jones, who released it in 1963 and won the Grammy for Best Vocal Performance, Male in 1964. His version reached #14 on the Hot 100 and #9 on the Easy Listening chart. Sadly, the song didn’t make it into the TV series Mad Men

The lyrics, courtesy AZLyrics:

Hey, little girl
Comb your hair, fix your make-up
Soon he will open the door
Don’t think because
There’s a ring on your finger
You needn’t try any more

For wives should always be lovers, too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don’t send him off
With your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

For wives should always be lovers, too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
He’s almost here

Hey, little girl
Better wear something pretty
Something you’d wear to go to the city
And dim all the lights
Pour the wine, start the music
Time to get ready for love

Oh, time to get ready,
Time to get ready
Time to get ready
For love.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for November 22, 2020.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Ella Fitzgerald, “Begin the Beguine”

Jim’s prompt for today is "Begin/End/Finish/Start," which gives me an opportunity to reach into the Great American Songbook and choose another Cole Porter tune, "Begin The Beguine." Porter wrote this song on a Pacific cruise in 1935, and later it was included in the musical Jubilee.

Just for reference purposes, a beguine is a dance (or the music therefor), a sort of slow rhumba. It wasn’t especially popular when it first came out, because of its length and structure (the verses are all different, so the entire song is written straight through, with no repeats). The most popular version was an instrumental by Artie Shaw and his orchestra from 1940.

Ella Fitzgerald, of course, has sung the entire Great American Songbook, of which "Begin The Beguine" is a part. This is from her 1956 album Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook.

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

When they begin the beguine
It brings back the sound of music so tender,
It brings back a night of tropical splendor,
It brings back a memory ever green.
I’m with you once more under the stars,
And down by the shore an orchestra’s playing
And even the palms seem to be swaying
When they begin the beguine.
To live it again is past all endeavor,
Except when that tune clutches my heart,
And there we are, swearing to love forever,
And promising never, never to part.
What moments divine, what rapture serene,
Till clouds came along to disperse the joys we had tasted,
And now when I hear people curse the chance that was wasted,
I know but too well what they mean;
So don’t let them begin the beguine
Let the love that was once a fire remain an ember;
Let it sleep like the dead desire I only remember
When they begin the beguine.
Oh yes, let them begin the beguine, make them play
Till the stars that were there before return above you,
Till you whisper to me once more,
Darling, I love you!
And we suddenly know What heaven we’re in,
When they begin the beguine

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for November 15, 2020.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Diane Schuur, “Louisiana Sunday Afternoon”

Today Jim asked for songs with days of the week in them, either the title or the lyrics. Now understand, I’m writing this last Monday, because as I was listening to Spotify this song came up and I thought it was perfect, and I think it’ll be unique.

Diane Schuur, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of hearing her before today, is a jazz pianist and singer who has released 23 albums to date, the best selling of which is 1987’s Diane Schuur And The Count Basie Orchestra, which was #1 on the Jazz Albums chart for 33 weeks. She has won two Grammys for Best Female Jazz Vocal Performance, in 1986 and 1987, and has been nominated for several more. What makes all this more impressive is that she’s been blind since birth due to retinopathy of prematurity (her twin brother’s sight wasn’t affected, but he experienced some hearing loss). Hers is an amazing story.

Anyway, the song I heard is "Louisiana Sunday Afternoon" ("Louisiana" is pronounced "Lou-zee-ana"), written by Peter Ivers and Franne Golde. It’s from her 1988 album Talkin’ ‘Bout You.

The lyrics, courtesy of Genius:

The temperature is rising from the heat
I feel desire burning in the street
Uh, I’m missing you, you said you love me too
Uh honey, where are you? Under this sky blue

Louisiana Sunday afternoon
Lord, you got to help me make it through
I can’t wait to see my baby soon
Louisiana Sunday afternoon

I can feel temptation in my bones
But I’m sitting here in my room all alone
Uh, I’m missing you, you said you love me forever
Wish I was kissing you and we could be together

Louisiana Sunday afternoon
Lord, you got to help me make it through
I can’t wait to see my baby soon
Louisiana Sunday afternoon

Louisiana Sunday afternoon
Lord, you got to help me make it through
On this Louisiana Sunday afternoon
Louisiana Sunday afternoon

I hear the tap, tap, tap, tap of your steps
I hear the rap, rap, rap on my door
Louisiana Sunday afternoon
My baby is at my door, not a minute too soon
My baby let me love him, love him through and through

Louisiana Sunday afternoon
Louisiana Sunday afternoon
I wanna see my baby, I wanna love my baby
I wanna hug my baby, I wanna squeeze my baby

Louisiana Sunday afternoon
Lord, you got to help me make it through
I can’t wait to see my baby soon
Louisiana Sunday afternoon

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day) for November 8, 2020.

Song Lyric Sunday: “A Day In The Life Of A Fool”

Well, to quote Roert Burns, "The best-laid plans of mice and men aft gang agley." Seeing that Jim’s theme for today was was "smart/stupid," I chose "Somethin’ Stupid" by Frank and Nancy Sinatra as my song for today. But, before I did anything else, I checked to see if someone else had the idea, and saw that Melanie beat me to it.

I came up with another song, "A Day In The Life Of A Fool," originally titled "Manhã de Carnaval (Morning of Carnaval)," by Luiz Bonfa, with Portuguese lyrics by Antônio Maria. Originally written for the 1959 Marcel Camus film Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus), it became an international hit and started off the bossa nova craze of the 1960’s. The English lyrics were written by George David Weiss, Hugo Peretti, and Luigi Creatore, originally for Perry Como, but, it having become a standard, hundreds more covers of it have been recorded, both vocal and instrumental.

The cover I’ve chosen was recorded by Nana Mouskouri, the bespectacled Greek chanteuse who has recorded over 200 albums in twelve different languages. I chose hers because hey, I like Nana Mouskouri.

The lyrics via AZLyrics:

A day in the life of a fool,
A sad and a long lonely day
I walk the avenue,
And hope I’ll run into
The welcome sight of you,
Coming my way.
I stop just across from your door,
But you’re never home any more.
So back to my room,
And there in the gloom
I cry tears of good bye.
That’s the way it will be
Every day in the life of fool.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for November 1, 2020.